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Burn out is a term used largely in reference to a job or work related stress, explaining the mental and physical exhaustion, low energy and extreme fatigue being overwhelmed with a sense of powerlessness. The inability to focus and indecisiveness that follows are other symptoms we often fail to pay heed to or recognise in entirety.

In 1974, Herbert Freudenberger coined the term “Burn Out: The High Cost of Achievement” via his book and further defined it as ‘the extinction of motivation or incentive’ referring to failure of desired results in one’s devotion to relationships, work commitments or a cause.

At times we ourselves are unaware of the sensation which drains our energy and fills us with stress, emptiness and lack of direction. Whether it be at the work-place, at home, or in any social situation, the symptoms of burn out may be ambiguous but they are present even if someone is not fully able to see them. So far 130 symptoms are recognisable and may be mistaken or seen as symptoms of other health or mental disorders but need to be given attention and attested to. If you are feeling the symptoms at work it is a result of prolonged stress resulting in:

1) Exhaustion 2) Cynicism and losing identification 3) Doubting yourself/your skills

An obsession with perfectionism and unrealistically high standards can contribute to the building of tension and long-term health issues.

Feeling like work stress or load is piling on and the inability to say no, deliver results instead of taking time to assess the unhealthy thoughts and feelings lurking can be harmful to a person who does not realise it.

This state of being is not something diagnosable but it is serious and can have long term effects on your life and health, such as physical –you may be susceptible to headaches, intestinal issues, a weak immune system. Chronic stress physically eats up the body and brain, slowly but surely affecting cognitive functioning as well, which explains the loss of concentration and increase of sleep disorders accompanied by this exhaustion. It impairs your life by seeping into the different aspects be it mentally causing restlessness, bitterness, personal issues, disillusionment and many other symptoms which are associated with it as well, although feeling burnt-out does not necessarily coincide with having depression. A tendency to cry, dizziness, muscle tension and more frequent illness and a desire to give up and accept the abyss is all damaging to one’s life and performance at their workplace as well.

Vacationing does not permanently help to erase the disdain and inability to cope, it may temporarily cause the symptoms to subside, but post-vacation the stress resumes in full-glory.

Burn out does not mean one is unable to handle stress, is weak, that they need a major life-change or that they will remain in the state. It simply means there are ways to deal with it so that it does not take over your life and harness power, projecting it onto making you feel as if there is no sense of control in your life. Work performance is at risk most of all along with your depleting energy and will to deliver.

This can lead to other serious health problems as well which is why it should be given the utmost importance when symptoms begin to arise, if any in this article speak to you there are many more available online, which can be searched and directed into what you could do to prevent or alleviate it as it is not a permanent state of being.

Therapy, sports, an active and healthy lifestyle, dealing with stress and knowing or learning how to manage it can positively impact and improve your quality of life. Your work performance will not suffer, your social life, emotional well-being and physical health will also improve slowly but surely once this is managed and treated. Burn out creates a hostile and isolated environment, ostracising an individual from being the best version of themselves, a functional and capable member of society.

Learn to recognise this, and attempt to heal yourself!

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